After a decade of consistent increases in Motorcyclist deaths, the statistic made a dramatic fall last year, potentially due to motorcyclists being budget conscious and riding less. (J. Lowry, Washington AP, 4/22). The study, which is “set for release Thursday, indicates a 16 percent drop in U.S. motorcycle fatalities through the first nine months of 2009 compared to the same period in the previous year. It projects at least a 10 percent decline in fatalities over the entire year, or about 530 fewer deaths.”
The study is authored by James Hedlund, a former National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration official, who is now a safety consultant. Hedlund said, “There is nothing in the data to indicate the cause of the sudden decline, but it is most likely due in part to a cutback in recreational driving by motorcyclists. When economic times get tough, recreational acitives are the first to go.
Some disagree that overall motorcycle usage is down since high gas prices have driven sales of the smaller vehicles. As a personal injury attorney in Chicago, I am please to hear that motorcycle fatalities are declining. I would, however, caution all riders to continue to operate their vehicles safely and to always wear a helmet.